Thanks to the non-profit climate protection organisation myclimate and the sponsoring partner FairEnergie, the SolarButterfly made its first stop in Germany at the Reutlingen Stadthalle on 14 June 2022. Guests included Mayor Angela Weiskopf, the citizens' cooperative ErneuerbareEnergien Neckar-Alb and the Climate Protection Agency Reutlingen. Innovative climate pioneers from Baden-Württemberg presented their projects, such as the Carbonauts, who explained how climate-positive plastics can be made from CO2, and CarboCert, who store CO2 in agricultural soils through their humus-building programmes.
«We want to create awareness that we have good solutions for climate protection on our doorstep,» said Thomas Lanners, Education Project Manager at myclimate. Alongside him, Stefan Baumeister, the managing director of myclimate Germany, and the FÖJ student Lorena Merz were on site.
The public had the opportunity to learn more about renewable energies and climate protection. Children could take a climate course and visit the SolarButterfly. In addition, this year's high school graduates were invited to drop by to find out about the FÖJ positions at the climate protection organisation myclimate, which will be open from September.
The SolarButterfly's circumnavigation of the globe will be carried out in several stages and began on 23 May 2022 with a 25.000-kilometre European journey across 30 countries. The team will alternate every four weeks. Would you like to accompany the SolarButterfly? There are still opportunities to apply as a presenter, social media storyteller and filmmaker for individual sections of the journey in Europe.
In the next three years, five more continents will follow until the team reaches its destination in Paris on 12 December 2025, just in time for the 10th anniversary of the UN climate agreement.
The initiator is the Swiss solar pioneer Louis Palmer, who 15 years ago was the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a solar-powered car. The SolarButterfly will now revisit many of the same places in 90 countries to see how they contribute to a sustainable future. «When the whole world is talking about climate change, it's time to show the solutions and support them!» says Palmer. His goal: to visit 1000 climate solutions and pioneers and shine the spotlight on them to inspire millions of people to take their own climate action.
The vehicle, specially developed by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland, is also a mobile home that practically demonstrates how a family can travel, live and work today without CO2 emissions. The SolarButterfly can transform into a butterfly at the touch of a button thanks to its large solar wings (80 m2). This symbolises transformation - just as the earth-bound caterpillar can transform into a free-flying butterfly, so too can society transform from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.
With the self-produced electricity, the «butterfly» can travel over 200 km per day. The Tiny House is largely made of very light and innovative ocean plastic. This consists of recycled PET bottles that were fished out of the sea.
The SolarButterfly not only offers living space for four people, but also includes an integrated film studio where reports on sustainable solutions and pioneers are recorded and published via social and conventional media. The SolarButterfly is completely self-sufficient. This also includes the water supply: The water is collected on the roof and processed into drinking water with solar power and heated for the bathroom and kitchen.
The costs for the construction and the four-year journey are covered by crowdfunding, events and partners, including LONGi, Brugg Group, EnergieSchweiz, BKW, Verbund, myclimate, 3A Composites Core Materials, Geser Fahrzeugbau, Komax, Kyburz, Hochschule Luzern HSLU, OPES Solutions, Schindler, 3A Composites Mobility, Trobolo, Lucerne Business Development, Maxon, Jim&Jim and Cosmiq Universe.
The ultra-high efficiency solar cells were supplied by LONGI, a main partner in the project. The visions of the two partners are very complementary. LONGi's mission is to «harness sunlight for a greener world» and it is committed to being one of the world's leading solar technology companies driving the global energy transition to renewable energy.
The solar cells were then processed by OPES Solutions in Berlin into ultra-lightweight solar modules that not only power the interior, but also charge the battery of the electric car pulling the SolarButterfly.
«We want to reach hundreds of millions of people with the message that more and more people around the world are working to stop climate change with practical solutions,» Palmer said. «The world is full of solutions that can create jobs and secure our children's future - and these are the ones we want to visit!»
You can find more information about the SolarButterfly here: https://solarbutterfly.org/